Could a routine urine test leave you bankrupt?

It may sound like an absurd idea. You go to the doctor for a routine exam, and he orders a urine lab. You pee into a cup and are on your merry way. A couple weeks later, you get a bill in the mail that is so exorbitant, it could run you into the ground.

This is exactly what happened to Elizabeth Moreno, a 30-year-old expectant mother of twins who was studying education at Texas State University. Moreno had undergone back surgery in 2015. Following the operation, her doctor prescribed her opioid painkillers—which she weaned herself off of over the course of her recovery.

Due to the alarming rate of deaths resulting from opioid abuse across the country, doctors who have prescribed such drugs have now begun testing patients’ urine as a means of ensuring the medication is being taken as prescribed. It may seem like a responsible safeguard. But many labs have been using this opportunity to exploit patients and charge exponentially more than what the services really cost.

When Moreno went to a follow-up appointment for her surgery, she was directed to provide a urine sample. Depending on the complexity of the urine analysis, such tests usually run anywhere from $10 to $200. The lab sent Moreno a bill to the tune of $17,850.

Moreno’s case is not unique. Sky-high billing for urine tests is becoming a growing concern across the country. A recent article found multiple patients with allegations of inflated billing on urine testing. In addition, it also found lawsuits by physicians who allege they had been pressured into ordering extensive testing “regardless of medical necessity.”

If you believe you’ve been the victim of improper billing or other professional malpractice in the medical community, talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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